Polenta Squares with Garlic Shrimp and Spinach Pesto

Polenta Squares with Garlic Shrimp (Prawn) and Spinach Pesto

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 24 squares
Author Adore Foods


  • Polenta Squares
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup coarse polenta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • Garlic Shrimp/ Prawn
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 lb 500g raw shrimp/ prawn, peeled and deveined, tails off
  • salt and pepper
  • Spinach Pesto
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper


  1. Make polenta. In a large saucepan over high heat, bring water to a simmer. Add coarse polenta to the saucepan, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk until polenta begins to thicken. Turn the heat to medium-low, cover and allow to simmer until very thick, for 20-30 minutes. Add butter and parmesan cheese and stir to melt and incorporate. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Line a rectangular/ square pan with baking paper and pour in polenta Smooth the top with a spatula and allow to cool to room temperature, then place it in the fridge covered.
  3. When ready to bake and serve, remove from the fridge and preheat oven to 350F/ 180C. Lift out polenta slab using baking paper as a handle. Using a large knife slice into 24 to 30 squares. Place them on a pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, just until warmed through.
  4. Prepare Spinach Pesto
  5. In the bowl of a food processor, add spinach leaves, pine nuts, lemon juice, and lemon peel. Lightly pulse. With the machine running, gradually add 1/3 cup of the oil, blending until the mixture is creamy. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate, tightly covered, until ready to use. Just before serving it, stir in parmesan cheese.
  6. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add shrimp/ prawn and cook until pink and cooked through for almost 4 minutes.Transfer to plate.
  7. Assembling the squares to serve. Lay warmed polenta squares on a large platter. Spoon 1 teaspoon spinach pesto over each square and spread as desired. Top each square with 1garlic shrimp/ prawn. Serve warm or at room temperature.